Saturday, December 18, 2010

Making pasta with a machine

When you get married, it's a good time to ask for the kitchen gadgets you've always wanted. We had most of the basics already (but were delighted to get a decent toaster finally!), so one of the fun things I asked for was a pasta maker, the Imperia SP 150.
It's amazingly easy to make your own pasta, especially with the machine. I wish I'd learned that years ago. Clean your counter well, make a mound of a couple cups of flour (I used all-purpose, but you can do many combinations of flour types), make a well in the mound and crack three or four eggs into it.
Mix the eggs a bit with your fingers, then start mixing in the flour from around the edges of the eggs. A bench knife is handy for keeping the well from getting too big.
You'll end up with a fairly shaggy mess, to which you can add a sprinkle of warm water if it feels too dry. Knead the dough for a few minutes until it gets a little smoother. I have to stand on a stepstool so I can really lean into it, but I don't try to get the dough perfectly smooth since the machine will take care of that.

Then cover the dough with a damp towel for 20 minutes or so (in other parts of the world you may not need to use a damp cloth, but Denver is super-dry). Clean your prep area, set up the pasta machine and fix yourself a drink! I've been enjoying Jack & Coke lately.

After the dough has rested, divide it into three or four balls and roll out one of them so it's flattish enough to feed into the pasta machine on the widest roller setting. Keep the rest of the dough covered up.

Run the dough through six to eight times on the widest setting, folding it in half or thirds after each time. It will start feeling quite silky and smooth. Then start dialing down the rollers and run the dough through a couple of times on each setting.

Eventually, you will end up with a long, very thin sheet of pasta. Can you imagine trying to get it that thin by hand?
You may need to improvise a place to hang your pasta to dry (especially in a damp climate; you don't want the stuff to stick to the cutters). The microwave door will do in a pinch.
Once you've processed all the dough into sheets, you're ready to cut it into whatever shapes you like. (This is also a good time to start your water boiling.) This pasta maker came with spaghetti and fettuccine cutters. I'm going to look into some of the other options, too.
The Sergeant made a hearty mushroom-based pasta sauce, so I opted for the sturdier fettuccine noodles. Since I was cooking them right away, I didn't hang them up to dry.
Fresh pasta takes only a couple of minutes to cook, so make sure your pasta and other dinner items are ready before you put the noodles in the water.

Buon appetito!


  1. while I have been making fresh pasta for about 30 years now I will have to say that I really enjoyed your step by step process...

  2. that looks so delicious and beautiful! and i've realized that Denver is also a bit drier in climate than Fort Collins (where I am now). whenever i visit the inlaws, dh and I realize how parched we feel.
    anyway, thanks for the great post! we are enjoying a hearty mushroom pesto sauce tonight (from a local mushroom grower. delicious...

  3. Wow! Is that what a pasta machine is for. I've been using mine for Sculpey clay. I never thought to use it for making pasta. LOL!
    This looks easy. I may have to clean mine up and use it for what it was intended.

  4. That looks fun! I should try that sometime. My mom has a pasta maker that I'm sure she hasn't used in years. I'll have to borrow it.